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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

wahhhh????? LOL ;)

Plans for Armory Site Announced

LIGONIER - "Would you like fries with that?" That familiar phrase could be greeting the residents of this small town within the year.

A recent announcement contained details of the final plans for the old Armory site at the corner of W. Main St. and Walnut St. The site was closed by the state of Pennsylvania a few years ago, and since then, plans have been uncertain. Previous proposals have included single-family houses, multi-family dwellings, and small "main street" type shops.

The recent news, however, reveals that the plans for the site include a fast food restaurant, a well known coffee shop, an upscale restaurant, and what the developer has termed a "body art" studio.

Recent documents show that the ownership of the Armory site has been transferred from, Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland to a development company by the name of "Sloop Fair Lady," named, according to the principal owner, Michael Easter, for a boat he once owned.

Mr. Easter ("call me Mike," he said) already has firm commitments for a McDonald's store and a Starbucks franchise. He is currently in negotiations with a restaurateur to develop an upscale eatery specializing in a fusion of Japanese and Southern "soul food"-style cooking, served amid an environment of classical music. The tentative name of the restaurant is "Yo Yo MaMa's."

The "body art" store, according to owner Ed Rink, will provide various types of body enhancements, from simple tattoos to various piercings. To provide the appropriate atmosphere, Mr. Rink plans to play what he calls "ear-piercing music" at his store.

The McDonald's store, set to feature the only non-bank drive-through window in Ligonier, will be managed by Ivana Burgher, currently in training at another McDonald's location. According to Burgher, this will be a medium- to large-sized store, with all the amenities "that our loyal customers have come to expect," including an indoor playland for children.

Gordon Bean, district manager for Starbucks, confirmed the plans for a new store in Ligonier. "We're looking forward to opening the eyes of Ligonier to Seattle-style coffee." The proposed manager of the coffee shop, Chai T. Brewer, is currently manager of one of the larger stores in Pittsburgh. Ms. Brewer said she is "eager to meet the kind folks of Ligonier." Joe Stewart, owner of Abigail's Coffee Shop on the Diamond, had no comment.

According to Mr. Easter, the old Armory building will be torn down. Demolition and site preparation is expected to begin within the month. The new McDonald's will be the showcase property on the corner of W. Main and Walnut, with a "tasteful strip mall"-style series of storefronts stretching back to the Starbucks store at the north end of the property. Mr. Easter expects that parking will be available for 175 cars, and that the traffic impact on the surrounding streets will be minimal. "And," he added, "we will be seeking a variance for a 75 foot tall McDonald's sign, to ensure that it is seen from Route 30."

Local reaction is mixed. Nearby residents are not in favor of a "monstrosity that will only attract the undesirable elements and fill the night sky with light," according to resident Bertha Schmidt, of Vincent St. Students at the Ligonier Valley High School, within walking distance of the site, were enthusiastic. "Finally! A real fast food restaurant in Ligonier - now we don't have to go to Latrobe for a fries and shake!," said Natalie Drest.

Mr. Easter hopes that the McDonald's restaurant will be open in time for the 2009 Fort Ligonier Days. If it is, then "Please pull around to the first window" will be a phrase that Ligonier residents will come to know well.

[wink wink...thanks, Byron!]